The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) supported its highest ever number of transactions in a single year in 2022.
The programme facilitated 1,768 transactions worth a record €3.6 billion, with 91 partner banks in 27 countries. Its contribution to total Annual Bank Investment (ABI) stood at an all-time high of 17.5%.
In 2022, the programme supported transactions ranging from €3,500 for medical equipment imports to Egypt, to multi-million-euro intraregional deals, including wheat exports from Ukraine.
Highlights of the year included major intraregional transactions, the programme’s role in supporting food supply chains and green trade finance across the EBRD regions.
In 2022, the programme facilitated €1.08 billion in trade financing for food, related commodities, fertilisers and agricultural equipment, particularly crucial in the face of the war in Ukraine. The conflict put enormous strain on regional supply chains, with food security becoming one of the biggest global challenges.
The war disrupted the planting, growing, harvesting, storage and export cycle in Ukraine, with knock-on effects on other EBRD countries, particularly those in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, which rely on food and related commodity imports. The EBRD stepped in when commercial banks’ capacity to facilitate trade began to dry up.
Last year, the TFP supported imports of agricultural machinery to Ukraine on more than 10 occasions. The programme also facilitated imports of fertilisers to Ukraine to keep the country’s grain production running. Later in the year, once the blockade on Ukrainian ports had been lifted, the TFP supported the country’s first wheat exports.
Green trade finance also flourished, with a record volume of €421 million, up from €287.7 million in 2021.
These included export transactions, such as array cables from Greece to the United States of America and greener buses from Georgia to Yerevan in Armenia, the import of energy-efficient street lighting from Ukraine to Georgia and the import of sustainably sourced forestry products from Romania to Egypt and Tunisia.
The TFP was also active in green capacity building in its regions, holding its first ever webinar for all of its clients and its first face-to-face workshops on the Bank’s Paris Alignment in Armenia and Georgia.
The Bank’s Green TFP was set up in 2016 to promote investments that improve sustainability and deliver environmental benefits across the economies where the EBRD invests.
The Trade Facilitation Programme, launched in 1999, aims to promote foreign trade to, from and between the economies where the EBRD invests.
The TFP currently encompasses 123 local banks in 27 economies where the EBRD invests, with limits exceeding €5 billion in total and more than 800 confirming banks worldwide.
Through the programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to selected local banks and factoring companies for on-lending to local exporters, importers and distributors.